Feet are just there aren’t they… allowing you to stand up, and walk. Who thinks about their feet? Not many people I bet, until they hurt and start disrupting your daily life, and why bother with your feet if they don’t hurt anyway, right?
* What if you don’t have foot pain but your balance is shocking?
* You have a pelvic floor issue and you know your hamstrings are super tight?
* You may have bunions and no foot pain but your knees are a nightmare?
* What about bunions, knee pain, leaky pelvic floor, tight hamstrings and rubbish balance but NO foot pain?
Foot Health impacts so much more than just your feet. Here are 7 reasons why your foot health is so important.
1. Reduce Foot Pain
This is the obvious reason why your foot health is so important, common foot pain symptoms such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, metatarsalgia, bursitis, neuromas, corns, callous’ and bunions can be avoided if you look after the mechanics of your feet. The mechanics are the inside workings of your feet, yes looking after the skin is important too, no-one wants painful bleeding cracked heels, or a fungal foot or nail issue.
If you regularly suffer with foot pain symptoms improving your foot health/mechanics will significantly reduce the pain, and ultimately banish the symptoms forever. No-one has to live with significant chronic foot pain.
2. Improve Balance
Your feet are the connection to the ground, your feet muscles are weak, your foot muscles are stiff, your foot nerves are on holiday and you wear shoes that are unbalanced – you are effectively always walking on a ramp downhill (this is standard for everyone’s feet that live in a modern shoe wearing community, unless you have already started on your foot health journey)
If you struggle with your balance its worth looking at what is happening below your knees, your overall foot health and ankle mobility.
Do you have bunions and balance issue? Your big toe is out of alignment and this can cause a lack of strength, a twisting action through your foot when you walk making balance an issue.
Balance can reduce as we age, but is this because as we get older our feet have been shoved in poor footwear for even longer, our feet are weaker and joints stiffer? Worth a thought hey???
3. Reduce Lower Back Pain
Now you maybe asking how on earth do my feet affect my back, they are miles away from each other?
Everything is connected.
Your hips affect the way you place your feet on the floor, if you have dysfunctional muscles surrounding your hips, I can see this in the way you place your feet on the ground. These dysfunctional muscles rely on other muscles to do the job they can no longer handle, pulling joints out of their natural alignment.
The wonky joints then need other muscles to stabilise them and control them, these aren’t designed for this ‘overtime job’ and get exhausted and eventually complain by niggling and hurting – then they have a complete breakdown and you are in a whole heap of trouble.
If your feet are turning out when you walk, you maybe more prone to getting bunions, or a big toe that is starting to look at the other toes on the same foot. It should be looking forwards, straight ahead, in alignment. Joints work better when they are in their best possible position.
They could be turning out because you already have bunions and this is causing issue up the chain to your lower back. Because the angle of your big toe affects the way you walk.
If your big toe is pointing forwards but you have stiff big toe joints also impacts your lower back, you can’t achieve a full hip extension when you walk which activates your bottom muscles, they are going to become less effective and more lazy, and potentially create more pressure through the discs in your lower back.
Even more so if you wear a positively heeled shoe a lot of the time. The heel however high, creates an unnatural curve in your spine which you have to achieve to stand up straight. That’s the way biomechanics works with gravity.
This could be a cause of your lower back pain niggle – look down at your feet and see what they are doing?
4. Improve Pelvic Floor Function
Your pelvic floor muscles are attached to your pelvis. Other muscles also attach to your pelvis, to keep it stable. You have moveable parts in your pelvic bowl. If your pelvis is out of alignment or some of the parts are compromised usually due to poor sitting habits this impacts the performance of the attached muscles including the pelvic floor muscles.
Lazy bum muscles and tight hamstrings can be a cause of pelvic floor dysfunction.
Excessive sitting on the back of your pelvis (I call it couch slouch) pushes your sacrum into your pelvic bowl and affects the muscles. So this means you need to lengthen your pelvic floor muscles back to their functional length.
Continual holding on to your PF muscles and never letting them relax can cause issues. Muscles that are too tight are also dysfunctional.
If your feet aren’t working properly, and you aren’t getting the full hip extension when you walk this can cause issue. If your hamstrings are too tight because you wear positively heeled shoes all day everyday, even trainers are positively heeled… Yep and you are running in them!!!!
Can you see the link to foot health? Yep it’s definitely connected for sure.
I haven’t even highlighted the effect of walking with a turn out, bunions and a lifestyle of sitting.
So as we age is it normal for us to have a pelvic floor issue, or is it due to weak, stiff feet wearing positively heeled shoes???
5. Reduce Postural Pain
Back to shoes again I am afraid, any positively heeled shoe adjusts your bodies posture to accommodate for the downward ramp you are walking on. If your forefoot is lower than your heel then you are fighting against gravitational force and biomechanically you make these adjustments so as not to fall flat on your face. The higher the heel the more adjustment required, more pressure through your forefoot and anterior tilt on your pelvis.
The constant lean forwards rounds your shoulders, increasing the curve in your upper back and neck. This can then lead to pain, niggles and the perfect spot for injuries, frozen shoulder, trapped nerves and sore stiff necks.
Constantly sitting on the back of your pelvis instead of on your sitting bones, also impacts your posture and affects your pelvic floor as mentioned above.
You end up with Flat Arse Syndrome – No Bum Syndrome – just bad posture, call it what you like. This constant tucking under of your pelvis pulls on lower back muscles, lengthens glutes (not what we want) and shortens hamstrings (also not what we want) all pulling other joints in directions they don’t like either…
6. Improve Hip Health
Hip health is high up on my priority list, after foot health of course. Hip strength, mobility and flexibility is becoming more and more important as technology and our digital world improves and we are sat down more of the day than stood up.
Sitting down for long periods of time everyday creates an imbalance in the muscles surrounding the hip joint, some are passively contracted – shortened without active contraction, some are stretched too much when they should be stronger.
It’s this imbalance that decides where your feet land on the floor, which then leads to other issues as I have previously mentioned.
Hip health and Foot health go hand in hand, working in partnership with each other. We have to start somewhere and starting from the feet makes more sense because thats where a lot of the issues stem from and the improvement in hip health will start as soon as your feet start improving.
Remember point 4 – Pelvic Floor Function – this can start to improve as soon as your feet do too.
7. Reduce Knee Pain
Bunions and feet that turn out when you walk, dysfunctional hips and positively heeled shoes can be a cause of knee pain. (Not an exclusive list)
Strengthening your feet and hips, realigning your toes (as best you can), improving joint mobility in your feet and hips will all help reduce knee pain, as well as wearing zero heel lift shoes (or as low as you can for work etc)
Arthritis, wear and tear and other common knee complaints can be reduced and improved with better alignment of your knee joints, with the help of better foot health and hip health.
Knees are designed to bend and straighten not twist or circle with just a little amount of rotation to prevent serious injury, so walking everyday on slightly misaligned knees will start giving you gip at some point, if not already.
Foot health is so important for so much more than just your feet, the amount of ladies who have already joined my free membership who suffer with foot pain and pelvic floor dysfunction is incredible, but it’s not surprising really when you look at the bigger picture. How foot health and hip health go hand in hand, and they both impact pelvic floor function.
Once you understand more about biomechanics and how walking on a downward slope for hours and hours everyday impacts foot and hip health, you become empowered to make small effective changes, and looking after yourself, being proactive with your own health, and why starting with your feet is SO IMPORTANT.
If you would like to join the other ladies here is the link to join: